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Center for Israel Studies | News, Events & RSVP


  • Center for Israel Studies
    Battelle Tompkins, Room 155

  • Center for Israel Studies
    4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20016


Upcoming Event RSVPs

There are no upcoming programs at this time. Please check back for our fall schedule of events!

Recent News & Events


April 9, 2014

Stuart Eizenstat, former ambassador to the European Union and an undersecretary in the Clinton administration's State and Commerce Departments, discussed "The Future of the Jews, How Global Forces are Impacting the Jewish People, Israel, and Its Relationship with the United States" during the Amos Perlmutter Memoral Lecture. His talk, based on his 2012 book by the same name, examined how major geopolitical, economic and security challenges are reshaping the Jewish world and its relationship with the United States. He also discussed how shifting global power away from the United States and Europe to the emerging powers in Asia and Latin American poses challenges for the Jewish Community and the relationship between Israel and the United States.


"USA, Germany and Israel:
Transatlantic Triangle United by Values and Challenges?"

March 18, 2014
The Center for Israel Studies hosted an all day conference on the shared values among the United States, Germany and Israel and how these values translate into policy. A keynote address was given by former President of Israel's Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch. Panels featuring experts from all three countries covered Law: The Supreme Court as Guardian of the Rule of Law; Economy: Individual Responses to the Global Economic Crisis; Religion: Between Secularization and Religious Revival; and Israel: An Outpost of the West in the Middle East? The conference was co-sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation.


Israel and Water: Scarcity, Innovation and Cooperation

March 4, 2014
See Speaker Videos and more.


Israeli Film Series: "Tensions Within Israeli Identity"

The Center for Israel Studies presents a popular spring Israeli Film Series featuring talkbacks with Professor Dan Chyutin, Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist. The films and themes presented include:

  • Peeping Toms by Uri Zohar (January 29)
    Sabra Masculinity Deconstructed
  • My Father, My Lord by David Volach (February 19)
    The Judaic Challenge
  • The Ballad of the Weeping Spring by Benny Toraty (March 19)
    In search of Mizrahi Authenticity


My Promised Land:
Ari Shavit in Conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg

February 4, 2014
See the Video: Ari Shavit with Jeffrey Goldberg.
Israeli Journalist Ari Shavit discusses his book My Promised Land with Jeffrey Goldberg, National Correspondent for The Atlantic. Moderated by NBC's David Gregory.

Shlomo Ben-Ami: Geneva, the Arab Revolutions and the Prospects of an Israeli-Palestinian Peace

January 16, 2014
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami gave a presentation on a range of Middle East foreign policy issues, including the Geneva interim agreement over Iran's nuclear program, the impact of the Arab revolutions on the Middle East, and the current Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations before a capacity crowd in the SIS Abramson Family Founder’s room. Ben-Ami received his PhD at Oxford University and was a history professor at Tel Aviv University. He was appointed Israel's Minister of Public Security in 1999 and Foreign Minister in 2000. He participated with Prime Minister Barak in the Camp David Summit, after which he led the Israeli team in all phases of the negotiations with the Palestinians. His latest book is Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Arab-Israeli Tragedy. Professor Ben-Ami serves presently as the vice-president of the Toledo International Center for Peace, of which he is a co-founder.

Video available:


"Chaim Weizmann: Statesman without a State" with Jehuda Reinharz

November 19, 2013
The Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies Inaugural Lecture Series concluded with yet another capacity audience on hand in the AU Museum Galleries at the Katzen Arts Center to hear former Brandeis University president Jehuda Reinharz present the importance of Chaim Weizmann's efforts to the establishment of the State of Israel. The setting was particularly apropos with the audience surrounded by the works of Israeli artists Tzibi Geva. Reinharz is the President of the Mandel Foundation and served for seventeen years as President of Brandeis University, where he currently is the Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History and Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry. Reinharz is presently finishing the third volume of his biography on Weizmann, the first two volumes of which has won numerous awards in Israel and the United States.

To find out more about the series, go to Inaugural Founders of Israel Lecture Series.



November 13, 2013
American University and the Embassy of Bulgaria presented a special screening of The Optimists: The Story of the Rescue of Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust, with Her Excellency Elena Poptodorova, Bulgarian Ambassador to the United States, and the film's director, Jacky Comforty, to a capacity audience. The Optimists tells the dramatic story of how Bulgarian Christians and Moslems saved Bulgaria's 50,000 Jews during the Holocaust. It was presented at AU in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the rescue. Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies, moderated a post-film discussion with Amb. Poptodorova and Mr. Comforty before opening the floor to questions and comments from the audience. Guests conveyed personal stories of the rescue from both the perspectives of saviors and those saved. The evening concluded with a reception featuring Bulgarian treats graciously sponsored by the Embassy.

For more information about the event, go to AU Commemorates 70th Anniversary of the Rescue of Bulgaria's Jews.
To learn more about the film and its director, Jacky Comforty, go to TheOptimists.com.



November 6, 2013
Heartbeat, featuring Jewish Israeli and Palestinian musicians performing side-by-side, kicked off its 2013 world tour with a concert in the atrium of American University's School of International Service. The unique performance interwove Eastern and Western music styles to amplify their message of cooperation, equality and respect. Besides the uplifting performance of their original music, the event featured the troupe of Heartbeat All-Stars sharing their experiences of growing up amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The evening highlighted their creative effort to build a better future in the region and offered a unique window into the lives of these courageous young artists and the social enterprise which has brought them together. Co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies, School of International Service, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Social Enterprise Program, Creative Peacebuilding Initiatives, AU Peace Corps, Arab Students Association, AU Students for Israel, and Social Enterprise Association.

To learn more about the concert, go to Heartbeat: Amplifying Israeli and Palestinian Voices.
For more information about the project, visit their website.



October 14 - November 25, 2013
The Center for Israel Studies initiated a new series of informal falafel lunches for students to meet with American University professors and special guests to sit and chat about topics of interest concerning Israel and the wider Middle East. Discussion facilitators included Fall 2013 Israeli Society instructor Moran Stern, Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies, Israeli artist Tsibi Geva, and Dan Arbell, Israel Studies Scholar-in-Residence.

"Ben-Gurion: Leadership and the Shaping of History" with Anita Shapira

October 8, 2013
Anita Shapira continued the series with an engaging lecture to another standing room audience detailing Ben-Gurion's monumental impact on the establishment of the State of Israel and his "Golden Decade" spanning 1947-1957. Shapira is professor emerita of Tel Aviv University, senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, and the founding director of the Yitzhak Rabin Center. She is the author of Israel: A History (Brandeis 2012) and is currently writing a biography of Ben-Gurion. She was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize in History in 2008.

To watch the Shapira lecture, go to Anita Shapira "Ben Gurion: Leadership and the Shaping of History" Part 1 - Lecture. (AUCollege YouTube page)

To watch the Shapira lecture Q&A, go to Anita Shapira "Ben Gurion: Leadership and the Shaping of History" Part 2 - Q&A. (AUCollege YouTube page)



September 26, 2013
Dr. Arie Nesher, Director of the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University, presented a lecture on Middle East environmental issues followed by a lively discussion with audience members. Co-sponsored by AU's Center for Environmental Policy at the School of Public Affairs.



September 22, 2013
Renowned Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein performed a program including works by Beethoven, Liszt, Bach and Schubert in the American University Museum galleries at the Katzen Arts Center to a standing room only audience. The program was presented in conjunction with the exhibition, Donald Rothfeld Collection in honor of HE Ambassador Michael Oren, by the Center for Israel Studies and the AU Museum, with support from the Department of Music, America Israel Cultural Foundation and Embassy of Israel.


"Theodor Herzl: Charisma and Leadership" with Derek Penslar

September 9, 2013
Derek Penslar gave the first lecture in the series about Theodor Herzl to a standing room only crowd at the AU Museum Galleries. Penslar is the Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto and the Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies at Oxford University. Author of several books about Israel, he is currently writing a biography of Theodor Herzl for Yale University Press' Jewish Lives series.

To watch the Penslar lecture, go to Derek Penslar "Theodor Herzl: Charisma and Leadership". (AUCollege YouTube page)



September 3 - October 20, 2013
The first exhibition of Donald Rothfeld's extraordinary girt of Israeli art to the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in honor of HE Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, this 161-piece collection co-sponsored by the AU Museum chronicles Israel's history and includes the work of numerous prominent and emerging Israeli artists including Uri Aran, Yael Bartana, Tsibi Geva, Moshe Kupferman, Siglat Landau, Elad Lassry, and Michal Rovner. The exhibition was officially kicked off with an artists' reception attended by the ambassador on Saturday, September 7, 2013 and a gallery talk with Donald Rothfeld on Sunday, September 8, 2013. The exhibition closed with a panel discussion and guided tour during AU's All-American Weekend on Saturday, October 19, 2013. The discussion featured Donald Rothfeld, Yael Reinharz, Executive Director of Artis, and John Rasmussen, Director of the AU Art Gallery and its curator, and was then followed by a guided tour led by Rothfeld. To learn more about the exhibition, go to First Showing of the Rothfeld Collection at the AU Museum.

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